Beautifully made classic ballet pumps are what French Sole does best, and their collection spans more patterns, colourways and designs than many other footwear retailers. Their largest London branch is on the Kings Road in Chelsea, which is where you’ll find the newest additions before they’re shipped to smaller locations across the city.
French Sole, 323 Kings Road, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7351 1634
If you’re in the market for a stand-out pair of shoes that doesn’t follow the season’s trends, head for Camden Lock’s Irregular Choice, where you’ll find a plethora of the label’s identifiable designs. Signature features include embellished heels, ornate wood carvings and glistening decoration applied in ample proportion, which results in a look perfectly slotted in the store’s eclectic surroundings.
Irregular Choice, 209-210 Chalk Farm Rd, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7482 3090
Ash launched in 2000 but really made its mark on the fashion scene a few years later with the introduction of its wedge trainer. The label offers contemporary footwear designs and sportswear lines for men and women that capture their effortless, free-spirited nature.
Ash, 39 Marylebone High St, London, United Kingdom, +44 207 486 5278
Steeped in 150 years of history and committed to the highest level of craftsmanship, Grenson is primarily a men’s footwear label but recently re-launched a womenswear collection. Each pair of shoes is made in the U.K. and takes up to eight weeks to produce, which results in a timeless and authentic product that is worth the investment.
Grenson, 40 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 3689 2970
📷 @menboots // Fred is a mens brogue boot, the boot version of Archie. We took the upper of Fred with its oversized brogue punching, nice big eyelets and stuck a modern light weight wedge sole on it. This change makes Fred comfy and light and creates a whole new look. British workwear meets American workwear. Here he is in tan calf leather on a white wedge sole.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ -⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #grenson #menswear #grensonshoes #grensonbrogues #mensfashion #mensstyle
Spearheaded by British sporting legend David Beckham, Adidas is a relatively new addition to the Oxford Street shopping spectrum. Now the U.K.’s flagship Adidas store, this large shopping space showcases not only the label’s signature sports performance and sports-inspired footwear, but also men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.
Adidas 415-419 Oxford St, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, +44 20 7493 1886
One of the world’s leading sportswear brands, favoured not only for its performance footwear but its fashion-focused iterations, PUMA is deserving of its prolific spot on Carnaby Street in Soho. The store front is bright red and emblazoned with the brand’s logo, so it’s not hard to spot, despite the area’s vibrant aesthetic and buzzing atmosphere. If you want a real feel of what the brand stands for and a solid offering of the current product, this is the store for you.
PUMA, 52-55 Carnaby St, London, United Kingdom, +44 20 7439 0221
Each Camper store is designed to embody a different personality, so whichever one you head for, you’ll find a new concept. The product, however, stays true to the label’s Mediterranean heritage, with collections that reinvent the classics and include completely new pieces each season. The Covent Garden store has a particularly impressive interior, with white metro tiles, neon signage and primary-coloured plinths, which set the tone and stand out from a sea of otherwise minimalistic interiors.
Camper, 39 Floral St, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7379 8678
Dr. Martens started as a modest workwear boot and grew to be a household name by fusing functionality with its own defined aesthetic. The signature shoes are crafted from pure leather and feature a chunky rubber sole, so they’re supremely comfortable and recognisable. Of their many stores across London, be sure to visit the most recent addition on Oxford Street. Part shoe shop, part museum of vintage memorabilia, this three-storey building celebrates Dr. Materns’ connection with music throughout the decades.
Dr. Martens, 386 Oxford St, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7629 1422
Brazilian footwear brand Melissa launched in 1979 with a unique vision to create stylish footwear using specially developed material called Melflex®, made of recyclable PVC with a glossy finish. Whether or not you invest in a pair, the European flagship store in Covent Garden is worth a visit. It’s decked out with bright LED lighting and installations, which give the space a futuristic feel that’s far removed from most any traditional shoe shop.
Galeria Melissa, 43 King St, London, United Kingdom, +44 20 3096 1222
The well-known German footwear label was originally established in 1896 with a flexible insole product. Today, the store in the Seven Dials shopping district in Covent Garden stays true to the brand’s clean-cut, minimalist aesthetic with wood shelves that house one of each piece and angular white plinths that showcase the odd house plant. If you’re in the market for a timeless and versatile summer shoe, make the in-store experts your first port of call for advice.
BIRKENSTOCK, 24 Neal St, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7836 8052
Russell & Bromley
An established addition to the U.K.’s footwear offering, Russell & Bromley has used premium quality leathers and precision craftsmanship to capture the essence of British footwear design since 1873. The London flagship store sits on New Bond Street and hosts both men’s and women’s designs. Heritage pieces include leather and suede loafers, ballerina pumps and sleek Chelsea boots, and the label’s recent collaboration with Stuart Weitzman has only elevated its profile further.
Russell & Bromley, 24-25 New Bond St, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7629 6903
Swear launched in 1996 thanks to Jose Neves and Jorge Sampaio, the management team behind SIX showroom. Now based on Carnaby Street and offering a development on the original aesthetic, this established footwear retailer is the destination to head for if you’re looking for something easy to wear with a unique design twist. The sneaker-shoe hybrid is their signature style, designed to be worn with skinny jeans and a T-shirt for a look that references the early-noughties music scene in the coolest way possible.
Swear, 22 Carnaby St, Soho, London, United Kingdom, +44 207 734 1690
With a store on Regent’s Park Road, family-run shoe store Spice is arguably among the most prestigious independent footwear boutiques in London. Interiors are bright, airy and minimalistic and ensure the product is the main focus. The range offers a unique mix of shoes, bags and ready-to-wear clothing from the likes of Castaner and Superga, and each chosen design champions a charming, retro-inspired aesthetic.
Spice London, 162 Regent’s Park Rd, Primrose Hill, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7722 2478
It’s rare to find a footwear label that focuses firstly on menswear and introduces women’s designs as a secondary counterpart, but for Church’s, the transition was seamless. The signature heritage-inspired aesthetic and dedication to quality craftsmanship spans both collections, as each pair of shoes takes up to eight weeks to construct. Certain designs, such as the menswear Shanghai, for example, have remained key to the collection for more than a century. Head to the New Bond Street store for insight into the brand or to invest in one of the most beautifully made pairs of shoes you might ever own.
Church’s, 133 New Bond St, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7493 1474